But first, I want to introduce you to Austin Pitts. Austin is a 5'6 guard in the 2018 class. He played at Opelika, and he's hoping for an opportunity to walk on at Alabama. He's got a great story that Scott Fields wrote about for the Opelika-Auburn news. You can read that story here. I'm invested in his story, and hope to see him in an Alabama uniform next season. Click Austin's name above for a link to a highlight video.
We don't do breaking news here at the ol' Alabama Basketball Blog so most of you reading this are likely aware by this point that Alabama received its second commitment of the 2019 class on Friday when top 100 prospect Juwan Gary announced his decision to come to Tuscaloosa. Gary is a 6'6, 200 lb G/F from Columbia, SC. He's currently ranked in the top 75 nationally by 247 with a 4-star rating.
I must admit, I was surprised earlier this week when the scuttlebutt about Gary coming to Alabama began to surface. He had been considered a South Carolina lean for quite a while, but it seems that the Alabama coaching staff made a positive impression when he visited Tuscaloosa in June. Click here for an interesting article from The State.com about Gary's surprising decision.
One thing that stands out when watching Juwan's highlights is that he's a physical player. While his primary position will be the 2 or 3 in college, he's physical enough that I could even see him playing the 4 in smaller line-up situations. He appears to move very well without the basketball, and he can handle the ball well, which, due to how physical he plays, serves him well when he drives. I think he has a great chance to play early as a freshman.
247 recently updated their rankings. The first commitment of the 2019 class - Diante Smith - made a big jump into the top 125 (116), and saw his rating go from 3 to 4 stars. This doesn't mean very much once Smith hits the practice floor in Tuscaloosa, but it does show that he's made improvements as a player in the eyes of those who rank these high school players. If he continues that improvement, he could be a top 100 player in the country once his high school career ends. It's another example of how well Avery and the staff have done in evaluating players early prior to their stock rising. They identified Collin Sexton early before he became an elite prospect; and the same for 2019 in-state prospect, Kira Lewis, who is now ranked in the top 30 nationally at 247.
On Tuesday, July 24, the SEC Network will have its annual "takeover" day, in which all of the programming is dedicated to one school in the league. That day it will be Alabama. On the basketball side of things, the network will air the men's games vs Oklahoma and the NCAA Tournament win vs Virginia Tech. The network will also air the women's game at Tennessee, in which the women's program notched its first victory ever in Knoxville.
Paolo Banchero - 6'8 forward in the class of 2021 from Seattle, WA.You watch the video I linked to and you can see that this young man is definitely ahead of the curve, and will have no shortage of offers.
Jerdarrian Davidson - Another 2021 prospect, this time a 6'2 guard from Calhoun High School in Letohatchee, AL. Davidson will likely be one of the top prospects in the state by his senior season.
Point guard at Calhoun High in Letohatchee. Alabama Fusion is the AAU team supported by Eric Bledsoe and Boogie Cousins. https://t.co/jsMMWUVCkE— Cecil Hurt (@CecilHurt) July 14, 2018
One final note: if you're on Twitter, you have to follow the Alabama Roundball account (@BamaRoundball). This guy works tirelessly to post Alabama recruiting information as soon as it's available. Without the information he posts, I wouldn't be able to include the recruiting information I have in this post and others. If you're interested in hoops recruiting, follow that account.